Painting and Drawing

Learn the history of painting and drawing, and practice your drawing techniques, in an exciting online studio environment designed to sharpen skills, foster creativity, and provide context for these foundational artistic practices in today’s global art market.


Students enrolled in this online Studio course will discover the history of painting and drawing in a dynamic virtual environment that balances a variety of expert-led live sessions with self-paced practice. Taught by contemporary artists and with guest appearances by leaders in the contemporary art world, our Studio courses offer a unique perspective on traditional studio practice by also incorporating a study of history, markets, theory, and careers.


In this online course, students will learn basic drawing techniques while exploring the major artists, art movements, and market forces that have shaped the disciplines of painting and drawing. This hands-on, multifaceted approach to learning encourages students to deepen their technical knowledge and gain insight into the broader world of painting and drawing as a means of developing critical thinking and visual communication skills.


The program is geared towards students eager to discover their passions, try something new and prepare for college. From guided online studio sessions to virtual site visits led by expert practitioners, the Studio program is curated to give students a newfound sense of direction for their future studies. Students will emerge from the course with samples of completed work for their portfolios as well as a deeper understanding of different possible career paths for artists.


Virtual site visits may include:

• Global museums, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
• Online viewing rooms at world-renowned art galleries, such as David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth
• Behind the scenes at Sotheby’s auction house
• Street art exhibitions
• Artists’ studios


Global guest speakers may include:

• Artists in different media
• Museum curators
• Art dealers
• Art collectors
• Art advisors
• Representatives from artist residency programs
• Representatives from art schools


Self-paced activities and projects may include:

• A series of foundational drawing techniques practiced during self-paced studio time, with individual feedback on the student’s work given by the instructor as well as time for in-class critiques
• Creating a dynamic presentation about a contemporary artist of the student’s choosing
• Researching auction prices for a selection of contemporary artists and comparing the values of drawings and paintings in the market



  • Kate McNamara is a curator, educator, and former Director of Exhibitions at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, as well as the former Director and Chief Curator at Boston University Art Gallery. She has held curatorial positions at MoMA/PS1 and Participant, INC., both in New York. Currently, McNamara is a visiting critic at the Rhode Island School of Art and Design where she teaches online, and she is Creative Director for the public art non-profit My HomeCourt. She received her MA in curatorial studies from The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.
  • DonChristian Jones is a visual artist specializing in painting and drawing, as well as a singer/songwriter. His work spans performance, video, and public murals all over the United States, blending genres of painting and drawing with performance installation. Jones has shown his art and performed at institutions such as The Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA/PS1, the New Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Carnegie Center. He was an artist-in-residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in 2017. He graduated from Wesleyan University, where he studied painting. Jones taught in Sotheby’s Summer Institute-Pre-College in 2019.


Tech Fee: $75


Please note: This information is subject to change at any time at the discretion of Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Term Dates

Term dates and course availability depend heavily on instructors’ schedules.

  • Term 4 July 20 to July 31 Term Closed

All courses are open to rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors. Explore the full online summer schedule.

View Summer Schedule

What is a Studio Course?

Studio courses provide students with an immersive and virtual exploration of traditional studio art-making practices alongside a survey of the history, markets, and theory for a single subject area. This hands-on approach to learning enables students to develop deeper appreciation for art and insights about the field. Over the course of a two-week Institute term, students will create original works of art.

Course Highlights

Summer Institute enables students to dive deep into a course of study, sharpening skills for their academic and professional careers. Each course is carefully designed to suit student interests and encourage intellectual curiosity.

  • 1

    Studio practice: In an exciting and interactive online studio practice, suitable for both beginners and those with experience, students will develop core drawing skills and receive individualized feedback to help them take their drawing to the next level both technically and conceptually. Instruction will include a variety of drawing media, with which students will have an opportunity to create a finished work of art that they can add to their portfolio at the end of the course.

  • 2

    History: Students will survey the history of painting and drawing, examining the relationship between these two practices and how their relationship has evolved over time. Through online classroom lectures and virtual site visits with international artists, students will study examples from recent historical periods in Western art and compare examples from the past with the work of contemporary artists.

  • 3

    Markets: Students will receive an overview of the contemporary art market and learn how paintings and drawings are sold at auction, in art galleries, and at art fairs. Students will examine general differences in valuation between paintings and drawings, and study examples currently on the market by contemporary artists to understand how these works are bought and sold today. In addition, students will receive an overview of opportunities for a career in the arts through a series of virtual interactions with current art world professionals.

Summer Institute Faculty

Our instructors are award-winning Sotheby's Institute faculty, recognized thought leaders and professional experts in the international art world who have extensive online teaching experience. Each faculty member structures their course around real-time conversations defining their professions and helps students master the unique forces at play in the art world.

Summer Institute Faculty

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